Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Pork's Dirty Secret
January 20, 2007 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Pork's Dirty Secret is a Rolling Stone expose on Smithfield Foods, the world's top pork processor. via
posted by Burhanistan (56 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The pig, if I am not mistaken
Supplies us sausage, ham and bacon
Let others say his heart is big
I call it stupid of the pig


Ogden Nash (I think)
posted by unSane at 10:12 PM on January 20, 2007


Smithfield Foods, the largest and most profitable pork processor in the world, killed 27 million hogs last year. That's a number worth considering. A slaughter-weight hog is fifty percent heavier than a person. The logistical challenge of processing that many pigs each year is roughly equivalent to butchering and boxing the entire human populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Memphis, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, El Paso, Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, Denver, Louisville, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Las Vegas, Portland, Oklahoma City and Tucson.

Sounds like a good start!

ba-dum tssssh...

(Or, to be honest, that's like slaughtering the entire population of Canada, minus Toronto)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:29 PM on January 20, 2007


I doubt I'll ever come across another article that mentions the phrase "pig shit" as often as this one does.
posted by Xere at 10:31 PM on January 20, 2007


The belt moved on. Lexington went with it. Everything was still upside down and the blood was pouring out of his throat and getting into his eyes, but he could still see after a fashion, and he had a blurred impression of being in an enormously long room, and at the far end of the room there was a great smoking cauldron of water, and there were dark figures, half hidden in the steam, dancing around the edge of it, brandishing long poles. The conveyor-belt seemed to be travelling right over teh top of the cauldron, and the pigs seemed to be dropping down one by one into the boiling water, and one of the pigs seemed to be wearing white gloves on its front feet.

Roald Dahl
"pig"
posted by isopraxis at 10:32 PM on January 20, 2007


Don't forget Poland.
posted by homunculus at 10:33 PM on January 20, 2007


The pork I eat comes from a pig not unlike Wilbur from Charlotte's Web who squeezes off pieces of belly meat for me with a smile because he knows I love him very much. It always grows back and he never dies and in between blessing me with his eternal tastiness he dances in a lush field bursting with spring flowers along with Moo Moo Magic Cow and Cluckens the Many Breasted.
posted by The Straightener at 10:35 PM on January 20, 2007 [11 favorites]


Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation got its start as a series of articles for Rolling Stone as well-- I don't know whether any of the individual articles were published as stand-alones, but the research he did was intended for just that, and it developed into an entire book.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:40 PM on January 20, 2007


The floors are slatted to allow excrement to fall into a catchment pit under the pens, but many things besides excrement can wind up in the pits: afterbirths, piglets accidentally crushed by their mothers, old batteries, broken bottles of insecticide, antibiotic syringes, stillborn pigs -- anything small enough to fit through the foot-wide pipes that drain the pits.

I did not know that the pigs used walkmans and Raid®.

Joking aside, I do agree that the ways in which agribusinesses produce meat for market are morally and environmentally outrageous.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:45 PM on January 20, 2007


mmmmm....bacon
posted by pivo at 10:49 PM on January 20, 2007


A world of pigshit and texas sweet crude.
Thanx GWB.

I owe you one.
posted by isopraxis at 10:53 PM on January 20, 2007


mmmmm ... pork rinds lite ...
posted by bwg at 11:05 PM on January 20, 2007


That's why I only eat kosher pork.
posted by smackfu at 11:25 PM on January 20, 2007


major floods have transformed entire counties into pig-shit bayous.

Smithfield: Transforming entire counties into pig-shit bayous.
posted by IronLizard at 11:30 PM on January 20, 2007


Awesome.
posted by IronLizard at 11:30 PM on January 20, 2007


Is any of this really a secret though? The city I grew up in was held hostage by a land baron (yes, they still exist) who at one point told the city council that if they did not grant him a building permit for some grandiose archetectural monstrosity he would build a hog farm as close to the Civic Center as possible. He got his permit against all environmental assesments, zoning laws and building codes. Luckily he dided before the project could get underway.
posted by lekvar at 11:34 PM on January 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is any of this really a secret though?

Not really, but most of the suburban consumers do everything possible to bury the knowledge of how truly disgusting their sausage is as deep as possible into squashed corners of their subconscious, where sometimes it bubbles up into its own kind of pig shit flood. But day by day they only know what their senses tell them, so uncomfortable reminders such as this can help to expose the secret within themselves.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:43 PM on January 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Meatrix
posted by homunculus at 11:46 PM on January 20, 2007


I have mixed feelings about this article.

On the one hand, Tietz succeeds in describing the sheer disregard that Smithfield and other producers have for their communities and their animals.

However, he doesn't make much of a point other than, "hey, this is really gross and wrong." What does he suggest we do? Boycott Smithfield? Stop eating ham? Only buy free-range meats?

Even the obvious conclusion, "tougher environmental regulations" isn't fully addressed. How should we regulate Smithfield and their ilk? Ban open-air waste lagoons? Set a limit on pig density? Hire more inspectors?

In fact, it seems like he does his best to tell us that there is no solution. He ends the article by talking about how Smithfield may just pack up their toys and move to Eastern Europe.

So what am I supposed to do now that I'm all good and pissed off? Just sit here and feel bad?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:51 PM on January 20, 2007


Afroblanco: I'm not really an advocate for food production decentralization, but it seems a glaringly obvious solution to alot of problems that didn't exist before agribusiness came to power.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:56 PM on January 20, 2007


So if Ayn Rand was writing today, would Howard Roark be a pork baron instead of an architect?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:07 AM on January 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't think it's within the purview of investigative journalism to tell us what we're supposed to do about some nasty problem, rather good investigative journalism should piss you off. Then, if sufficiently aroused, you might just decide to get off your ass for a moment and look to see how you could take a new course of action.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 AM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who runs barter town? Smithfield runs barter town. So why don't we just solve the energy problem with pig shit? Two birds with one stone, I say. Also makes great fertilizer (as long as you don't overuse it, of course). I think the main problem will be transporting this lake michigan sized pool of liquid shit. Maybe move the alaskan pipeline after we've run of of oil? I don't understand the complaints, I see nothing but possibilities here. We just need to move to a pig shit based economy and should begin investing in the appropriate infrastructure. Right now.

No, wait. Doom. (We're all going to drown in pig shit.)
posted by IronLizard at 12:20 AM on January 21, 2007


I can see it in the history books now: After peak oil and the decline of the petro-dollar, the United States emerged like a phoenix from the flaming wreck of it's economy by parlaying it's vast stores of pig shit into a usable energy source. In a mad max like recovery, the new economy was based on pork and, to an even greater extent, pork by-products. This led to widespread use of the pigshit dollar, affectionately termed the 'turd' (this replaced 'buck', which was once in popular use). As an unfortunate side effect, Americans were barred from entering most countries due to the unpleasant aroma that had, by then, become ubiquitous in the countryside and a seemingly permanent feature of it's, now even more morbidly obese, citizens.
posted by IronLizard at 12:30 AM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Back in my late teens I was taking flying lessons and wound up criss-crossing all over southern Virginia doing cross country flights in a single engine Piper. The thing I remember about Smithfield is that is smells like ham, even from 5000 feet above the town.

On a completely unrelated note, I also discovered that flying over a paper mill is a really, really dumb thing to do.
posted by smoothvirus at 1:04 AM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


The BoingBoing article includes a link to a Google maps image of a Smithfield lagoon. It's pretty much what you would imagine a giant pit of pink shit would look like.
posted by Drunken_munky at 1:07 AM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


A slaughter-weight hog is fifty percent heavier than a person who doesn't eat a lot of hog.
posted by textilephile at 1:46 AM on January 21, 2007


What does he suggest we do? Boycott Smithfield? Stop eating ham? Only buy free-range meats?

Well, Jeff Tietz can't come right out and tell his readers to conspire to murder Joseph Luter III (and whoever succeeds him, and whoever succeeds him...), now can he?
posted by dansdata at 3:23 AM on January 21, 2007


So what am I supposed to do now that I'm all good and pissed off?

Well, there's this little thing called boycott... And even if you're the only living soul in the nation who stops buying meat from Smithfield, you'll at least know that your money isn't what helps keep that corporate jet in the air.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:44 AM on January 21, 2007


I tought we had antitrust operations going, but I guess I am wrong.

Pork prices in Poland were low, so Smithfield's sweeping expansion didn't make strict economic sense, except that it had the virtue of pushing small hog farmers toward bankruptcy.

Which is pure monopolistic strategy, drive the little ones out of the market and then go oligopolistic so you avoid fighting other big companies. Freedom my ass.

Yet that must be happening in the forgotten Poland, but what happens in freedom "fries" loving U.S. of A ?

Smithfield now kills one of every four pigs sold commercially in the United States.

Holy gazookas, Hogman ! That means he has got control over 25% of the pig market !

According to some 2003 Pork Industry statistic, 25 operations controlled 40% of production while the remaining 70105 "operation" controlled the rest, so there is a clear oligopoly in this market , with considering that many "operations" are probably fronts.

The problem , as usual : the swine industry isn't in your backyard and you like its product, so the complaining is almost zero, the pressure to reduce the problems is zilch, the right pockets are filled (yours aren't the right ones)
posted by elpapacito at 4:47 AM on January 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


On a completely unrelated note, I also discovered that flying over a paper mill is a really, really dumb thing to do.

Let me guess: West Point?
posted by armage at 5:25 AM on January 21, 2007


Smithfield is a politically powerful company, owning around seventy percent of pork produced on the continent. Although I dislike Smithfield and avoid buying Smithfield products, I found that the tone of this article made me question every description of evidence put forth.

From my experience, the term "lagoon" is pretty standard, but they are also called ponds or manure pits. They're just a way to capture and degrade waste, which is then recycled as fertilizer, and I'm not sure how you'd make them much more environmentally sound. They are one of the most dangerous parts of any farm. They don't particularly smell like much. But there is always a right and wrong way to do things, and industrial agriculture tends to do it the wrong way.
posted by zennie at 5:34 AM on January 21, 2007


My brother is being forced off his property in Pennsylvania by Amish farmers adopting these modern industrial techniques.

They are permited to use the waste as "fertilizer," so they spray it on tracts of land all year round, including winter, when it runs off the frozen ground and flows wherever it wants to, gunking up the whole area.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:58 AM on January 21, 2007


A slaughter-weight hog is fifty percent heavier than a person.

You know, you could just tell us how much that is, so we get a figure for how much weight you're talking about instead of trying to sound all impressive and dangerous.

Seriously, who is this person being referred to? Some 100lb model? 190lb boxer? 350lb slob?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 AM on January 21, 2007


I was familiar with the lagoons before from a couple of cool professors. These problems have been in the offing for some time now.

Afroblanco: If the article recommended something to do about it, it would be open to charges of bias from hundreds of right-wing assholes. If this story does indeed gain traction (it needs to, I am hopeful but not confident) you can bet those people will drag out the standard, organized defenses against people who attack large corporations for any reason at all. In the minds of most voters, who are not sophisticated enough to hear people speak and figure out for themselves whether it is accurate or not, attack equals refutation. All the people on the right have to do is shout at it loudly enough and folk will get their ires back down and go back to becoming just like the pigs: complacent, well-fed, and oh-so-lucrative.

zennie: Your response is, more or less, a "what are we going to do?" style of shrug, half of it from the political power of Smithfield Foods, half from the problems inherent with any extremely large scale livestock operation.

The solution to the first half is not necessarily that hard. The answer there is regulation, which would probably kill Smithfield if it solved the problems but some companies need to die, and many of the people with the votes are the people who have to live next door to (ahem) this shit.

The solution to the second half is harder to implement, but also obvious. Extremely large scale agriculture, of this nature, is bad in every way other than value created for the company and meat prices. It severely harms the environment (both ecological, from all the crap, and political, from the reality-warping effects of all the money Smithfield makes), it is a major health risk, it is a moral nightmare to anyone who accounts that animals have even a hundredth of the soul a human being does, and it even lowers property values. It doesn't even make for all that good a quality of meat.
posted by JHarris at 7:56 AM on January 21, 2007


Complaining about quality? What are you, Harris, some kind of Luddite?

Never mind the quality, feel the whiff!
posted by flabdablet at 8:10 AM on January 21, 2007


JHarris, my response was not intended to be a "shrug" to the problem so much as to the article itself. As I said, I do not buy Smithfield; I don't like industrial agriculture because of the problems inherent with it, and because the products represent an extra environmental burden due to the shipping, packaging, and storage required. I try to buy local products, and I believe that is a good solution on all fronts.

Regulation also has its place. Much regulation is already in place and moving forward, particularly where air and surface water quality are strongly affected. However, regulation would not be terribly hurtful to Smithfield.

But "what are we going to do," indeed? We all have power in our choices as a consumers. That power can work to either reinforce or dismantle industrial agriculture. Your choice.
posted by zennie at 9:10 AM on January 21, 2007


Shit is power,and we've talked about it before
posted by hortense at 9:30 AM on January 21, 2007


JHarris - I don't necessarily agree that this argument needs to be framed in terms of "right" vs. "left." By saying that this is a struggle of "the people" vs. "the large corperations," you are actually the one who is antagonizing a sizable percentage of the population. I would be more likely to agree with zennie that "there is always a right and wrong way to do things, and industrial agriculture tends to do it the wrong way."

I don't think there's any law of nature that states that "big companies have to do things the wrong way." Companies trash the environment because doing so allows them to maximize their shareholder value. You can't expect companies to be moral, because they aren't people and they don't have consciences. The only way to make corperations respect people, animals, and the environment is to pass regulatory laws. That's where I agree with you. Once a law is passed, a company has to follow it, provided that the law is properly enforced.

When reading the article, do you know what pissed me off the most? The fact that, when Smithfield was shown to be in clear violation of many laws, they were fined a more-or-less trivial amount of money. Were they fined, say, 10% of their income for that year, you'd see those lagoons cleaned up right quick.

As a side note, I think that Smithfield's operations in Poland should be the subject of a separate article, because they deal with a very different issue. Most of the article addresses Smithfield's environmental and animal rights abuses in the US. The part about Poland, however, is more of a general argument against globalization. If you think that Poland is bad, look at how China is currently degrading their environment in order to better provide us with cheap plastic crap.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:37 AM on January 21, 2007


zennie:
But "what are we going to do," indeed? We all have power in our choices as a consumers.

No, I do not accept this, the "vote with your dollar" excuse.

The consumer system asks that we make purchasing decisions based on the product, which is what is regulated and labeled to ensure we make a good decision, and not what is done with the wealth once it is transferred, which is unpredictable, wholly beyond our control, and what information we do have can be forged, or muddled by sophisticated advertising schemes (as can, in practice, the information on the worth of the product itself, but never mind that for now).

Further, to accept this is also, implicitly, to accept that we have no say in potentially-harmful ecological decisions made by people of whom we could never be customers. If a maker of industrial-use solvents dumped a few million tons of product and caused a tremendous health risk, we could not boycott them. Maybe we could boycott companies that bought their product, but how far, then, does the trail of responsibility lead?

Okay, maybe you were just offering ideas for what I could constructively do to work against Smithfield Foods, but even that isn't going to ever be really effective. In small towns, sometimes one does not have a whole lot of choice over what products one buys. If you're in Claxton, GA, are you going to avoid all chicken? And increasingly, if one chooses not buy products because they might support the "bad" corporations, then one must do without entire kinds of thing ("no tuna for you"), and, ultimately, become a hermit.


Afroblanco:
JHarris - I don't necessarily agree that this argument needs to be framed in terms of "right" vs. "left." By saying that this is a struggle of "the people" vs. "the large corperations," you are actually the one who is antagonizing a sizable percentage of the population.

Except, when you come right down to it, that's still what this is.

No matter if it antagonizes or not, the fact of the matter is, large corporations are the only things other than governments with the power to cause this kind of trouble, yet governments, in the U.S. at least, supposedly receive oversight from voters.

No matter the scale, property rights unavoidably cause problems by infringing upon the rights of others, but on a personal level this is usually microscopic, pragmatically able to be ignored. It is only when property is acquired in extremely large amounts, when the acquiring body has enough control that it begins to look like a government, that problem on this kind of scale can occur, and even if they don't happen today, they will tomorrow, or the next day.

I consider it an us vs. them issue because the pig farming industry is no isolated case. All the major livestock agribusinesses have serious problems from their nature, it's just that pig farming has come to light first. As the others continue to ramp up and take further advantage of economies of scale, their problems will accumulate until they are just as odious. Wait and see.

I don't think there's any law of nature that states that "big companies have to do things the wrong way." Companies trash the environment because doing so allows them to maximize their shareholder value. You can't expect companies to be moral, because they aren't people and they don't have consciences.

There's the problem.

Corporations are not machines. They are made of people, who make their decisions and carry them out. They very well can, and should, have a moral sense; nothing can exempt them from that. Even if they WERE machines, the moral responsibility for their actions would move to its operators.

To exempt any human being from moral responsibility for his actions is to either consider him a machine or divine. Neither is acceptable, no matter what cockamamie shareholder guilt-diffusion scheme is thrown up to mask it.

The only way to make corperations respect people, animals, and the environment is to pass regulatory laws. That's where I agree with you. Once a law is passed, a company has to follow it, provided that the law is properly enforced.

1. Detection of regulatory lapses can never be complete. Thus, to say that regulations are the only good solution is to admit that some environmental damage is acceptable.

2. Of course, this depends on good laws, and thus relies on a perfect political system, and such a thing is not known to exist.
posted by JHarris at 10:37 AM on January 21, 2007


Corporations are not machines. They are made of people, who make their decisions and carry them out. They very well can, and should, have a moral sense; nothing can exempt them from that. Even if they WERE machines, the moral responsibility for their actions would move to its operators.

A corporations is a legal fiction created to make money for shareholders. You cannot expect a legal fiction to have the same moral sense as a human being, especially since corporations exist largely to diffuse responsibility and limit liability.

A corporation has to follow regulatory laws. However, when these regulatory laws are not enforced, or when their penalties are so minute as to not make a difference to companies like Smithfield, its as if these laws don't exist at all.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:50 AM on January 21, 2007


Smithfield's corporate page says it produced 5.9 billion pounds of pork in 2006. That's equivalent to the weight of 29 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
posted by rolypolyman at 10:51 AM on January 21, 2007


What does he suggest we do? Boycott Smithfield? Stop eating ham?

There you go--2 great ideas. Pork is not good for you anyway.
posted by amberglow at 10:56 AM on January 21, 2007


Pork is not good for you anyway

but it is like sunshine that you can eat.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:01 AM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Without all the pigshit, how will we fertilize the veggies?
/me goes for a ham sammich.
posted by acetonic at 11:24 AM on January 21, 2007


All a set of cunts
posted by fritx at 11:27 AM on January 21, 2007


JHarris: No, I do not accept this, the "vote with your dollar" excuse.

What, pray tell, am I excusing? All I said was that it is better to buy local goods. Consumers can often tell the difference between goods from distant lands and goods from places nearby. Will this take down Smithfield? Not likely, but it will help keep the smaller businesses from being driven under.

Earlier, you said part of the "obvious" solution is to take down industrial agriculture. Would not the other half of the coin be to support small agriculture?

...if one chooses not buy products because they might support the "bad" corporations, then one must do without entire kinds of thing ("no tuna for you"), and, ultimately, become a hermit.

Yes, I believe it within the realm of social responsibility to do with less of some things, in favor of some other things. Is this so horrible and shocking? That's not to say you can never have what you like, but do you really need to have everything, always, right now, and damn the consequences?
posted by zennie at 11:37 AM on January 21, 2007


It's been 100 years, but has much of anything changed?

Meat is still cheap and plentiful in the U.S., and the companies that produce the meat still do things that would make most of us cringe if we reminded ourselves of all of the details each time we buy some meat in the supermarket.

But cheap meat is more important to the vast majority of Americans than the possible negative environmental effects occurring in the backwaters of North Carolina.

Sure, we have more regulations than we did 100 years ago, but regulators seemed to have forgotten that "all politics is local." Unfortunately, enforcing regulations (or not enforcing them) can easily be politically manipulated.
posted by docjohn at 12:12 PM on January 21, 2007


Well, I live 20 or so miles down the road from this...yes, it's in our backyard. And yes, everyone here still wants their bacon and fried pork chops and barbecue. Nobody really wants to think about all that hog waste except to laugh at folks who want to live "in the country" without realizing that sometimes "good old country air" smells like hog poop.

BTW, most of the workers at Smithfield are Hispanic or African American, and nonunion.
posted by konolia at 12:35 PM on January 21, 2007


A similar debate about the same article is currently going on over at boing boing. Figured linking to that would be easier than repeating my arguments here.
posted by Toekneesan at 2:08 PM on January 21, 2007


Boing Boing has comments now?
posted by Afroblanco at 3:37 PM on January 21, 2007


The Boing Boing thread links to an article by Paul Stamets, who has been the subject of a couple of earlier posts.
posted by homunculus at 4:27 PM on January 21, 2007


Afroblanco:
A corporations is a legal fiction created to make money for shareholders. You cannot expect a legal fiction to have the same moral sense as a human being, especially since corporations exist largely to diffuse responsibility and limit liability.
But you can expect people running the legal fiction to have a sense of limit, some kind of derailed, but still workable coscience. Legal fictions are just expedients set up by some people to benefit some other people in many ways (cost distribution, risk distribution etc) and no legal fiction will ever have any effect in reality if the people who really run the show decide to let it go.

Similarly , corporation don't have to follow laws, people running it _should_. The trick is to shift all the economic effects to the legal entity which, at worst, just goes bankrupt or is dissolved. The next day the very same people change name, office and start over : see Arthur Andersen=Accenture.

Also as Jharris already noted
To exempt any human being from moral responsibility for his actions is to either consider him a machine or divine. Neither is acceptable, no matter what cockamamie shareholder guilt-diffusion scheme is thrown up to mask it.
The trick is to get some kind of authority to state that is GOOD and if you work for the authority and are authorized, then you are justified of anything. It's the classic excuse "but I was only following orders" and it works most of the time for most people. It works expecially well when you have a stick (you will lose your job! Your health insurance! you are a failure!) and a carrot (here's the benefit, the stock, the payola!)

So if you work for the company, you are good worker and good citizen, but you must have the shareholder interest in front of anything (remember, the law say you must ! The CEO say you must !)..if it helps the bottom line, anything is justifiable.

Konolia said
Nobody really wants to think about all that hog waste except to laugh at folks who want to live "in the country" without realizing that sometimes "good old country air" smells like hog poop.
Eheh poop :-) You see, obviously the people living nearby the factory are very likely to be working in realted activities..sometime in activities created _just_ to buy their support, while keeping them working, busy and not feeling guilty for free money. Sometime it is a lot cheaper to distract them with a snark against the rich city liberals..they come, smell poop and complain ! Dem sissy noses eheh :) Rich fucking liberals :( they caused everything, I think they killed Christ. I am more tough than a sensitive nancy liberal, I'll show em ! HERE lib lib liberal I am eating NICE fat yummy pork ! In your face !

Meanwhile there is an increasing big fat chance something will go wrong..or they will become sick..whatever happens, it is not going to end on newspapers as the editor would lose the porky advertisement business. YAWN, blame liberal, blame republican..yeah blame whoever the fuck you want, so as long as you don't start diffusing dissenting opinion that makes SOME sense.

it may not be the pork business, maybe it will be the XYZ business, but whatever..it's the mentality , the blind faith, the ignorance.
posted by elpapacito at 6:29 PM on January 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


elpapacito - it is very dangerous to equate a corporation with a human being. To see why, do a search on the doctrine of corporate personhood.

A corporation exists for one reason only - to make money for its shareholders. The only thing that a corporation understands is money. If you punish environmental and animal rights abuses with stiff fines, the corporation will become less profitable, and the shareholders will respond, guaranteed.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:59 PM on January 21, 2007


Smithfield is well on the way to becoming the biggest producer/processor of every meat critter, from cow to pig to turkey in the US of A and they have their own private special police force, conveniently joined at the hip with the local constabulary, to process inconvenient humans.
posted by Huplescat at 8:10 PM on January 21, 2007


A corporation exists for one reason only - to make money for its shareholders. The only thing that a corporation understands is money.

Don't you see you are speaking of a corporation as if it was an human being ? People make money, legal fiction don't do anything. Legal fictions don't understand anything, people do.

Take the human beings out of any corporation and the corporation itself remains empty words , a pure work of imagination exactly like prescriptive rules that , if not enforced , very soon will not be respected unless if it profiteable to do so.

You say corporation must respect law ? In theory, bui in practice the people running the show try hard NOT to respect or to find ways around the rules, because respecting them is usually expensive. Their LACK of personal responsability, except to shareholder, is an incentive to take any shortcut.

It happens that in big company with many shareholder a very tiny fraction of stock (compared to mass) controls the company MAY find it more profiteable to just liquidate it (the infamous Wall Street movie is about that) and let the shareholders squeal.

Sometime it is a lot easier to just appeal to their greed, give them some nice money from the liquidation as they don't give a shit about the -economical- consequences of their action, they only see the -financial- ones.

---

For instance the main complain in the pigs article is the pink pond of sevage (in which apparently many died..but these are just subhumans, who cares ? ....some really thinks that...) .

Now exposure to air and to sun is the cheapest way I know to kill tons of bacteria very effectively and to also reduce the volume by mere evaporation. Sun power indeed :) ecofriendly.

My ass is also ecofriendly, but as the pond, it emanates gas. The pond itself may leak into water you will drink, the gas emitted is another problem, the excess in using it as fertilizer is one more, the fact that people nearby gets intoxicated will be met by the argument "they just should move if they don't like it" and the usual idiocy.
posted by elpapacito at 6:08 AM on January 22, 2007


A new federal program for livestock tracking will benefit big corporations, threaten small producers and do nothing to protect consumer health.
posted by homunculus at 1:03 PM on January 25, 2007


« Older Sheep and Ostriches...  |  A Year in Pyongyang.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments